Sometimes an announcement is too sensitive for the mainstream news distribution services to be willing to issue the press release to the media.
So what can an organization do to overcome this form of censorship?
This study addresses a case relating to animal welfare, a large HK listed retail conglomerate and a recognized Singapore egg supplier.
No one else wanted the case – we took it on but it needed some fundamental restructuring in order to succeed; which it did to great effect.
Equitas is a global non-profit organisation based in the United Kingdom that works for consumer protection and animal welfare in food supply chains worldwide, with a mission is to advocate for farm animals’ protection, as they believe all living creatures should be treated with the same human decency, as equals. Their vision is a world where all farm animals are provided with the appropriate care and protection they deserve. A world where companies become aware of the huge impact their supply chain can have on both animal welfare and consumer health and take actions accordingly for the greater good.
They reached out to EASTWEST in early January 2021 when they would like to raise public awareness on their recent findings with regard to their Investigation shows faeces- and dirt-smeared equipment, animal abuse, and hens crammed in small cages from a local major egg supplier to Dairy Farm Group in Singapore.
Due to some of the sensitivities of the issues, Equitas had faced challenges to get their announcement published in this part of the region, especially through Newswire.
EASTWEST recognize that animal welfare in food supply chains can impede human health and wellness, and the importance of raising the public’s awareness of potential food safety risks and animal welfare issues.
When first shared the announcement with media on 19 January 2021, there was zero pick up due to the sensitivity and complexity of the results of the investigation.
After EASTWEST PR has an in-depth discussion with the client, and strategically planned and decided to take a different approach, which uses the Singapore regulatory framework approach vs the errant retailer approach.
EASTWEST PR rewrote the Press release, researched the targeted media list which would focus on health and safety and Gov regulation, not on retail, and re-shared the news with media one week after.
- Two completely different media reported the news– CNA and The Online Citizen (TOC)
- One online, the cascade effect took over as more local and international media share the news or report the news
- 16 pieces of coverage were secured with an estimated 101M of online readership and an estimated 370K coverage views.
- After the news was published, CNA managed to get responses from the related parties: SFA/ Chew Agriculture and Dairy Farm on the feedback from Equitas Global.
SFA ： it licenses and regularly inspects chicken egg farms. in view of the feedback received， it would continue to inspect and check on the farm。
Chew Agriculture：That facility has since ceased production and closed in September 2020. We have built a new state-of-the-art modern facility which produces and supplies all our eggs since October 2020，this new facility and its equipment were “thoroughly inspected” by SFA, and that the farm had “always met SFA’s criteria and standard of sale (of eggs) for human consumption”
Dairy Farm ： the group was committed to tackling animal welfare issues across its businesses.
- Don’t give up. There is always an angle somewhere.
- Start with what just one media will publish, and build from that audience.
- Just one piece of media coverage creates legitimacy.
- Legitimacy leads to the cascade effect.
- Amplify the coverage on your own social networks.
- Let others comment on the original coverage, and leverage this to generate a conversation on social or to gain interviews with media.